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Dr. Dog - Black-Red
Feb 23, 2012
Total plays:
46 times
Why do we like this?
Dr. Dog is a band with a wanderer's tune in its heart. Though their Saturday night show at the 1,400 person Vic Theatre in Chicago was sold out, it was still maneuverable, so in this spirit I set out in my favorite venue to take in their set from several vantage points.

Relying heavily on their last three releases, 2008's Fate, 2010's Shame, Shame and the recently released Be The Void, one of the joys of Dr. Dog's live show is witnessing where the different influences come together. While bassist and de facto front man Toby Leaman shares vocal duties with guitarist Scott McMicken, it's never quite certain from which of them the words were originally crafted.

From the photo pit I inspected their set up close, with speaker stacks wrapped in heavily knitted blankets, they invited the audience into their own cartoon-themed apartment. Seemingly taking a cue from Pee Wee Herman's play house a la The Talking Heads, complete with a fireplace, lamps, even stuffed Tiger Heads and a stained glass pizza man. Timelessly kitsch, a false window stared out at a fake moon alongside posters for their own songs "Vampire" and "Warrior Man," even one of Mickey Mouse. It set an intimate mood that seemed to invite the crowd into the band's imaginary living room.

From the pit I headed directly to the center of the crowd, if I was going to Be The Void, I'd have to head to the center of it. There I found exactly what you'd expect at the middle of a Dr. Dog show: people chilling, but not too hard. Many of them sporting psychedelic guitarist Frank McElroy's signature Dr. Dog ski cap.

At the soundboard, a few fans who made it a little late happily did the best they could, smiling from their obstructed views; along the bar conversation raged; in the lobby excited fans bought the same posters featured on stage, as security sat half asleep in the stairwell.

Meanwhile, I found the sweetest spot in the entire theater. From the very last row of the balcony I could take in the entire scene. Looking down on the balconies flanking the stage, seeing the air rising from the dense crowd I was just part of, kids dancing in the upper balcony lit only by the stage lights as the band churned away from the comfort of their self-made home.

Dr. Dog continue their march home to Philadelphia on tour through the next month.

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Photos by: Joshua Mellin
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